Saturday, July 7, 2012

What a Week!

Last Saturday, my husband went to the doctor to check if he had Lyme disease.  He had all the classic symptoms- chills, sweats, aches, exhaustion plus a rash.  She agreed that he probably had it and decided to check his heart.  Next thing we knew, we were in the ER and they were hooking him up to all the monitors and paraphernalia because he had “heart block”.  His heart rate was less than half of what it was supposed to be.
It turns out that this is what those nasty little ticks can do.  While he sat in his hospital bed waiting for the antibiotics to kick in, there was talk of temporary pacemakers and other scary things. My daughter and I hovered anxiously, thankful that we had a doctor who recognized what was happening and that we were in a hospital with a reputation for being expert in Lyme disease and cardiac treatment.  The nurses and doctors were incredible – caring, experienced, funny and right there on it every minute.  And the antibiotics worked, so he’s going to be fine.  There was no damage to his heart, and after a month of doxycycline, he will be back to normal.  

When the infectious disease specialist learned we had horses, he said that he didn’t know anyone who has horses who hasn’t had Lyme disease.  I haven’t. My daughter hasn’t had it.  But our puppy, Stella, has it now too, and both horses have had it. I’ve become a zealot about bug spray.  I even bought a bottle with Deet for those occasions when we have to go out in the woods. For every day use, I’m favoring the non-toxic stuff --Repel with lemon-eucalyptus and Buzz Away Extreme. The doctor recommends soaking our clothes in Permythrin but I don't think I can wear something that kills cats if they come near it.  Apparently, the ticks are worse this summer because we had such a mild winter.  It makes me nervous now each time I go outdoors, which is really depressing since I love being outdoors.

I decided that I just have to be extra vigilant, but not limit myself from living the way that I usually do. Bad enough that I still have this heavy brace on my right arm and can’t do the normal things in the barn or the garden. My daughter is laboring hard over her summer vacation, literally being my right hand.  She’s being a really good kid about it, with only occasional complaints when I throw too much at her at once. I’m a person who never stops moving from the minute I get out of bed so I have to be careful not to become a control freak. “Back off, Robo Mom!” she tells me.

Not the summer that we had hoped to have, but at least we’re all safe and sound here at home together again. Our friends and neighbors have been so great, helping with the horses and mowing our lawn and bringing us delicious dinners. It certainly makes us appreciate the little things we do for each other.  I think that’s probably the most important lesson in all this.


Lori Skoog said...

I'd say enough is enough! I'm glad to hear that things look good for your husband and that your friends and neighbors have been helping you with food, mowing etc. That Lyme disease! So far, we don't have many ticks here and I hope they stay away.
What a summer! I'm sick about the devastation from the fires and all of our horse pals who have suffered through so much. Today we had a little rain and I hope it keeps on keeping on.

I will give you a call soon.

Anonymous said...

Glad to know your husband will be OK - that must have been very scary. I had no idea that Lyme could cause cardiac problems like that.

I usually look forward to summer, but this year has been horrible so far weather wise - our drought and heat have been unrelenting - here's hoping for cooler temperatures and a better rest of the summer for all of us.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sorry to hear that you husband contracted Lyme's. But you are so lucky that someone recognized it and it was treated quickly. When Jacquie got it years ago, rash included with all the symptoms, they told her because her blood test was negative she didn't have it. They wouldn't treat her for 4 months and she's developed so many problems from it.

Your daughter sounds like a big help. Sorry I haven't been around but we were on vacation and then had house guests. Sounds like you are all coping really well. Hope the heat breaks and no more tick bites this year.

Victoria Cummings said...

Lori - You're lucky to not have ticks. I didn't think anywhere on the East Coast was tick free. Yes, let's catch up soon!

Arlene - I think that it's insane how long it took for doctors to start dealing with Lyme aggressively. I know there are still many who insist on waiting for the blood test results, but we were lucky that everyone leaped into action with my husband's case. It's deadly serious, and I hope that Jacquie is doing better. I know so many people who suffer chronic problems from it.

Victoria Cummings said...

Kate- Thanks- I hope it's cooled down at last for you and that Red's hock is doing better.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

The ticks have been really bad this year! Bugs in general actually. West Nile has shown up down here recently.

Glad your husband will recover. You're fortunate to have doctors who are on the ball about Lyme disease. Not always the case down south.

Wishing an uneventful rest of the summer for you and your family. :)

Oak in the Seed said...

Wow...what a month this has been for you and your family! Thank heavens for your daughter, who is learning good lessons and will have lots of blog fodder of her own...or whatever social media will become to tell her stories.

Birding has brought me into many a tick-infested field but I soak my "jungle clothes" in Permethine in spring. They are good through several washings. When I come in the house, I shred them right into the machine so there is no contact with other animals. The stuff will make you glow in the dark but it works. IT WORKS. Ticks be damned.

billie said...

I'm so relieved to hear that they figured out what was going on so quickly and addressed it - what an ordeal! It sounds like many of us are having some heavy-duty things to deal with this summer - I am choosing to believe that we're working extra hard in the life lesson department in advance of a wonderful and smooth-sailing fall/winter into 2013. :)

We have a much-needed break in the heat coming on Tuesday and I have already informed the Big Bay that we are going to ride every day this week once that happens. I need the magic.

detroit dog said...

Such a wonderful support system -- you have such good friends and neighbors and a great daughter. I'm glad all is relatively well and hope the best for you all.

Merri said...

oh my, what a scare!
I've picked a few ticks off the horses earlier this spring, but this will make me keep checking! I know one other person who got lyme disease, but he has nothing to do with horses. he and your husband are enough for me to know I don't want it!
- The Equestrian Vagabond